Press Release

Javade Chaudhri, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, and Helen Zia Receive 2007 AALDEF Justice in Action Awards at Lunar New Year Gala on February 22


Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh, ABC News Correspondent Juju Chang, Journalist Carol Jenkins, and Attorney Elwood Lui Join Evening’s Program

New York, NY—On Thursday, February 22, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) will honor Javade Chaudhri, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Sempra Energy, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, former Attorney General of the United States, and Helen Zia, author and activist, with the 2007 Justice in Action Award at its annual Lunar New Year Gala at PIER SIXTY, Chelsea Piers, in New York City.

A press conference/photo opportunity with the three honorees, guest presenters, and AALDEF staff will take place prior to the evenings festivities.

WHAT: AALDEF Lunar New Year Gala and Justice in Action Awards Press Conference


  • Honorees Javade Chaudhri, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach and Helen Zia
  • Emcee Juju Chang of ABC News
  • Presenters Dean Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School, former California Supreme Court Justice Elwood Lui and Carol Jenkins of Women’s Media Center
  • AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung and President Denley Y. Chew

DATE/TIME: Thursday, February 22, 2007, from 5:30pm 6:00pm

WHERE: PIER SIXTY, Chelsea Piers (between West 22 and 23 Sts.), New York City

RSVP: Call Shirley Lin at 212.966.5932 x213 or e-mail

Over 800 leaders of the civil rights, legal, business and arts communities will attend AALDEF’s 2007 Lunar New Year Gala celebrating the Year of the Boar. The Gala begins with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception followed by the Justice in Action Awards ceremony, a three-course dinner, and a silent auction. Tables of ten, available at $50,000, $20,000, $10,000, and $6,000, include a VIP reception. Individual tickets start at $500. Special $200 member-priced tickets are also available. For ticket information, contact Lillian Ling at 212.966.5932 x202.

Proceeds from the Lunar New Year Gala benefit AALDEF’s legal and educational programs in immigrant rights, economic justice for workers, voting rights and civic participation, affirmative action, language access to services, youth rights and educational equality, and the elimination of hate violence, police misconduct, and human trafficking.

AALDEF’s Justice in Action Awards recognize exceptional individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in advancing justice and equality.

2007 Honoree Biographies

Javade Chaudhri: One of the few South Asian American attorneys to serve as general counsel of a Fortune 500 company, Chaudhri is responsible for overseeing all major legal matters for Sempra Energy, a San Diego-based company with 14,000 employees and more than 29 million customers worldwide. Before joining Sempra Energy in 2003, Chaudhri served as general counsel of Gateway Inc., as a senior partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Winston & Strawn, and a partner at Jones Day. He has been a visiting faculty member for the International Development Law Organization in Rome and the International Law Institute in D.C. Chaudhris pro bono commitments include promoting economic development in developing countries and emerging democracies. He is receiving the Justice in Action Award for his longstanding commitment to diversity and his outstanding legal achievements. Elwood Lui, a partner at Jones Day and former California Supreme Court Justice, will present the Award to Chaudhri.

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach: As Attorney General of the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson, Katzenbach helped to bring about the passage of the most successful civil rights laws in American history: the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1966, Katzenbach successfully defended the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act twice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress later cited the Court’s decision in Katzenbach v. Morgan when it amended the Voting Rights Act in 1975 to include language assistance provisions—which have since benefited hundreds of thousands of Asian American voters who are not yet fluent in English. Katzenbach, as Deputy Attorney General in the Kennedy Administration, enforced court orders compelling the University of Mississippi and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to enroll their first African American students. After leaving government service, he served as General Counsel of IBM from 1969 to 1986. He is receiving the Justice in Action Award for his pivotal role in enforcing the civil rights of all Americans. Harold Hongju Koh, Yale Law School Dean and 1993 AALDEF Justice in Action Award recipient, will present the Award to Katzenbach.

Helen Zia: An award-winning journalist and activist, Zia one of the Asian American community’s most influential voices for social justice and political empowerment. She is the author of Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, and the co-author, with Dr. Wen Ho Lee, of My Country Versus Me, a first-hand account about the Los Alamos scientist who was falsely accused of being a spy for China. In 1982, after the racially-motivated beating death of Vincent Chin by two unemployed white automobile workers, Zia helped to launch a national campaign to call for justice and a federal civil rights prosecution of Chin’s assailants. Zia’s efforts were recounted in the Academy Award-nominated documentary film, “Who Killed Vincent Chin?” by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima-Peña. Zia was recently profiled in the acclaimed PBS documentary by Bill Moyers, “Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.” She is receiving the Justice in Action Award for her insightful writing about the Asian American community and her advocacy efforts to promote social justice. Carol Jenkins, president of the Women’s Media Center, will present the Award to Zia.

ABC News Correspondent Juju Chang will be M.C. for the evening’s festivities. Photographs of the honorees are available upon request.